Technical Writing: The Purpose of Metrics
The purpose of metrics is to discover insights about how we can help users accomplish tasks as quickly and effectively as possible.
God help me, I've finally snapped. I'm actually setting out to develop a comprehensive, quantitative picture of docs quality. This post is the first of a series on the topic.
I figured that I should start with a high-level vision of the purpose of technical writing, and the application of metrics towards technical writing.
The purpose of technical writing is to help users accomplish tasks as quickly and effectively as possible.
The purpose of metrics is to discover insights about how we can improve speed or efficiency of task completion.
In my 7ish years of experience, I've come to believe that the big problems of technical writing boil down to 3 questions:
- What tasks do users need help accomplishing?
- Are users finding the content that's supposed to help them complete the task?
- Does the content actually help them complete the task?
These will be my 3 fields of inquiry. If you think my approach is wildly off, you can potentially save me a lot of time and pain by emailing me (
firstname.lastname@example.org) your thoughts.